$3 Million Down the Toilet

The Beijing city government recently declared it will be investing US$3 million in the city's soccer team, Beijing Guoan, to improve the quality of the capital's soccer squad. The money will be focused on funding youth development programs, but will also be spent on offsetting costs of the Manchester United visit this July. The government also declared that this isn't just a one time investment but a longterm cooperative program between the city and the team.

Will it work? In China, money has an "odd" way of going to the wrong things even when in the hands of government, but when in the hands of a private entity, corrupt usages of it wouldn't be surprising. As it is an investment in youth programs, it will be much harder for the average person to see if the money is being put to good use.

Since the team announced that they won't be playing in the Bird's Nest, there is still a question of where the team will play, returning to its traditional home at Worker's Stadium or remain in Fengtai. While the Bird's Nest would have required attendance figures above and beyond what the team usually got, the draw of the stadium would have been great (at least early on) and helped to promote the team.

The team's quality has been improving the past few seasons, will this investment in the future be enough to put the team over the top and deliver a first championship to Beijing or will it just get caught up in red tape and mishandled?


Paulus said...

They settled on Gongti. Think some of the government money is going into finding the team some alternative accommodation and practice pitches as the ones they used to use (it was their home ground before the Olympics) were demolished as part of the stadiums Olympic make-over.

b. cheng said...

Thanks for that, though I think the money is more focused on other things. With the Olympics having been played here, there have to be plenty of practice facilities other than Xianghe. I didn't even think about the Gongti pitches not being there anymore.